After scoring an impressive second-place finish in the sixth round of the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, Triple Eight Racing has its sights set on a maiden series victory and further closing the gap on their rivals lead in the pair of 60-minute races this weekend at Snetterton.
A sublime performance by Joe Osborne in the second-half of the Brands two-hour race was almost enough to secure the Greatworth-based team a maiden British GT victory, but despite giving it literally everything he and the car had, Osborne and team-mate Lee Mowle had to settle for second place.
Some 87.5 points remain on offer as teams make the cross-country drive to Norfolk this week, and the rival BMW crew, Ecurie Ecosse lead the way in the points with 138.5 scored, to Osborne and Mowle’s 91. The Aston Martin squads, Beechdean-AMR and Oman Racing, hold second and third respectively, and Triple Eight know they will need to bide their time this weekend and hold out for race two to really make their mark.
Having taken second-place last time out, the #888 BMW Z4 GT3 will have to remain stationary for an additional 10s in its mandatory pitstop in race one, a margin that neither Aston will have to adhere to in the first race of the day. Ecurie Ecosse will have a further 5s stationary as a result of winning the Brands Hatch encounter, margins which will be tricky to overcome in the short ‘sprint race’ format on the 2.99-mile Snetterton circuit.
Last season Osborne and Mowle had their best weekend of the year having changed race numbers and with fortune on their side took third in race one and fifth in race two, with Osborne narrowly missing out on pole for race two, and Mowle qualifying ninth for the first of the two encounters.
Both drivers have won at Snetterton in recent years; Osborne took the overall win in 2012 with Steve Tandy in a Trackspeed Porsche, and Mowle made it onto the top step of the podium in the same year, but as GT4 victor, alongside George Murrells in the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta.
Quotes from the Triple Eight Racing drivers prior to Snetterton:
Lee Mowle: “Last year Snetterton was a great weekend for us, and it would be nice to think that it can provide a similar effect this season. We’re coming into the weekend in a rich vein of form, Joe is driving at a level above that I have seen in the past two years, and our car is a good match for anyone on its day. We’ve always been quick at Snetterton and hopefully that will stand us in good stead again. It’s possible to win the championship still, but we need to focus on finishing ahead of the Beechdean and Oman Astons to ensure we’re in the mix for Donington; it’d be good to go there with three or four cars in the mix for the title!”
Joe Osborne: “I’m looking forward to this weekend, and Snetterton has been a track that has always suited my driving style and the Z4. I think we do need a bit of luck now to take the title, but we want to win races first and foremost. We took third here last year, but our team is far stronger now, so I feel like we’ve got a good shot at victory in race two, with the first race being about salvaging what we can against the guys ahead in the points. Weather can be a factor at Snetterton, I’ve driven in extreme heat and monsoon-like rain in past years – I think we’re due a wet race this year…!”
You can follow the action from Snetterton courtesy of live television coverage on Sunday from 12:50 for race one and 16:25 for race two via Motors TV (available on Sky, Freeview, FreeSat and Virgin Media), or in-person, where race day admission is available on the day for £23 or online (until 12pm on Wednesday 19th August) for £18 – children under 13 years of age are eligible for free entry.
2015 British GT Driver’s Championship
1) Sims / Attard – 138.5 pts
2) Adam / Howard – 104.5 pts
3) Butcher / Griffin – 98.5 pts
4) Osborne / Mowle – 91 pts
2015 British GT Team’s Championship
1) Barwell Motorsport – 177.5 pts
2) Oman Racing Team – 156.5 pts
3) Beechdean-AMR – 104.5 pts
4) Triple Eight Racing – 91 pts